Federal funds help demolish vacant Youngstown, Warren homes

The YNDC says the money from the Department of Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund will be vital to its projects.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - Ohio will receive over $97 million from the Department of Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund, which would provide funding for community stabilization programs and demolishing abandoned structures.

This comes after U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman pushed for the funding to improve Ohio communities.

Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation Executive Director Ian Beniston says this funding would be vital for their projects.

"There's probably two to three thousand that need demolished, so it'll enable us to get a good chunk of those taken down."

Beniston and community volunteers boarded up about 20 unsafe vacant homes on Saturday. The YNDC team is currently working with the city to count the total number of abandoned properties to help determine how much money they'll receive.

"I think Youngstown and Warren will both get a good amount. They both have well-performing land banks," Beniston said.

Even with funding, there is no definitive timeline for the demolitions because each home has to go through a separate process. In the meantime, YNDC steps in to make the homes safer.

"Removing brush, trash, debris, overgrowth, and then boarding up all the openings so doors and windows are secure to make the neighborhood a little safer."

Beniston believes this will be one of the most helpful fundings that Youngstown and Warren have received for these projects.

"Both communities have been able to tear down quite a bit, Youngstown a significant number in the last ten years. So I think this will probably be one of the larger demolition funding allocations that the communities received in a long time."

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